Top 5 Places to Ski in New York for Beginners

When people think of New York, skiing is rarely part of that picture. In fact, you would probably be surprised to hear they have more ski mountains than any other state. If you live around the area, heading to the ski mountain is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. If you are a beginner skier, here are the 5 best ski resorts you need to check out.

Resort Name

Easy Green Trails

Lifts

Snow Tubing Available

Whiteface Mountain

18 Trails

11 Lifts (1 Magic Carpet)

No (Bobsledding)

Mount Peter

5 Trails

5 Lifts (1 Magic Carpet)

Yes

Thunder Ridge

9 Trails

7 Lifts (4 Magic Carpets)

No

Windham Mountain Resort

11 Trails

11 Lifts (4 Magic Carpets)

Yes

Hunter Mountain

17 Trails

12 Lifts (3 Magic Carpets)

Yes

Whiteface Mountain

Located in the heart of the Adirondacks, Whiteface Mountain boasts some of the best ski experiences the East has to offer. They hosted the 1980 winter Olympics. While their website talks up their "greatest vertical of any lift-serviced mountain" and the "longest intermediate run in the Northeast", don't let that scare you away. Whiteface caters to all skiers regardless of skill. Let's breakdown what it offers for beginners.

Easy Green Trails  

There are 18 trails available for beginners to test their skis and learn the sport.

Magic Carpet Lifts 

There is 1 magic carpet area called the Bear Den Mountain Area. It is separated from the rest of the resort for beginners and also includes 2 easy chair lifts. 

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Lesson Packages 

For first time skiers, the Parallel from the Start program is for beginners (ages 13+). Classes are offered in 1 & 3 day packages. The 3-day package guarantees you'll make it to the top of the mountain by the end. 

Kids ages 1 to 14 can sign up for ski camp. It incorporates lessons that are age and skill appropriate.

Private lessons can be set up for you and your family (all ages). They are designed specifically with your goals in mind. You can either book them from 1 to 3 hours.

Check out their website for the latest pricing.

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Rental Packages

With over 1,200 pairs of rentals, Whiteface offers 2 rental locations for all of your needs. Each are located at the ground level of the lodges. Rates are here.

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Snow Tubing Availability

There is no snow tube park here. However, they do offer bobsled racing on an Olympic track. Pretty intimidating if you're a beginner, but interesting nonetheless!

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Off Mountain Activities

Whiteface Mountain does not have its own lodging on site. Each resort in the area will have it's own set of amenities.

Onsite, many activities are focused on their Olympic ties:

  • Olympic jumping complex tour
  • Lake Placid Olympic museum
  • Bobsledding on an Olympic track
  • Ice skating at Lake Placid Olympic Center​

Or, you can take a gondola ride to the top of the mountain for the view.

If you're looking for food, they offer a market with grab and go items, a waffle house, 2 cafes, a bistro, 1 pub, and 1 cafe/wine bar. They even offer a warming lodge halfway down the mountain with food and warm beverages.

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Common Praises

It's a great mountain with so much nostalgia. The gondola ride to the top is a must see. The views are amazing. There are tons of inexpensive places to eat and shop in the village. 

Mount Peter

Mount Peter is located just an hour outside of New York City in Warwick. They are known for things like free beginner ski school, expert grooming, and an awesome terrain park. Overall, this resort has a great family atmosphere. The perfect option for any beginner.

Easy Green Trails  

They offer 5 beginner trails. Each of their trails is set up for snow making, ensuring your experience is enjoyable.

Magic Carpet Lifts 

Mount Pete offers 1 magic carpet area for beginners to learn to ski.

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Lesson Packages 

Mount Peter is beginner central. They are famous for offering their free beginner lessons daily (ages 5+). It is their belief that once you learn to glide down the mountain, you will be hooked. It will turn you into a lifetime skier.

If you are looking for more 1-on-1 support, they offer private lessons, an adult ski camp, and a children's ski camp.

Pete's Pals is their camp designed specifically for toddlers (ages 4 & under). It will introduce kids to winter play and skiing.

Check out their website for the latest pricing.

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Rental Packages

Mount Peter offers a convenient rental shop for your daily ski rentals. They have everything you need to get on the slopes safely. Rates are here.

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Snow Tubing Availability

Mount Peter recently added their snow tube park. It's fast, it's long, and it's a whole lot of fun! They offer a conveyor carpet to get you back to the top of the hill. They even have a designated "Little Tikes Tubing Area" for kids. 

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Off Mountain Activities

Activities are limited as they do not offer their own lodging. However, there is plenty to choose from nearby. Each offers their own list of amenities.

Food options onsite are located inside one of their 2 lodges or at an outside grill. For adults, there is an antique pub inside to grab a drink.

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Common Praises

If you're looking for small crowds and a great atmosphere to learn to ski, this is it! They have everything you need to learn. You can't beat the free beginner lessons!

Thunder Ridge

Thunder Ridge Ski Area is a small ski area located just 1 hour outside of New York City. They cater to families and beginner skiers. It's the perfect place to learn without being intimidated by the more experienced skiers and slopes.

Easy Green Trails  

There are 9 trails designated for beginners. They span the entire mountain so as you gain confidence, there is room to explore.

Magic Carpet Lifts 

Thunder Ridge is so dedicated to beginners they offer 4 magic carpet areas! Each is designed with slow, gentle slopes to get you started.

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Lesson Packages 

Thunder Ridge Snowsports School has the highest percentage of certified ski instructors in the northeast. 

Group lessons are available as Mommy/Daddy and Me (ages 3 to 5), children's groups (ages 4 to 12), and adult group lessons (13+) depending on skill and ability. 

There is a half-day program for kids ages 5 to 9.

Private lessons can be booked in 1 to 3 hour increments. They book up fast to reservations are strongly encouraged.

Check their website for the latest pricing.

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Rental Packages

They pride themselves on having a friendly, efficient rental shop. Everything you need for skiing or snowboarding is available. Pricing is available here.

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Snow Tubing Availability

Thunder Ridge Ski Area does not currently offer snow tubing.

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Off Mountain Activities

Thunder Ridge is your basic ski mountain. There is no lodging onsite so the amenities are very limited. Onsite dining is cafeteria style or grab a drink at their slopeside pub.

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Common Praises

It's a wonderful, family-oriented mountain. It's a great starting place for skiing. Small and no-frills, it will get you ready for the larger resorts. Know what to expect, and you will not be disappointed!

Windham Mountain Resort

Windham Mountain Resort is located in the heart of the Catskills. It isn't just about the slopes, it's a full-service destination. They offer 285 skiable acres that span 2 mountains. They guarantee good snow conditions as 97% of their trails have snow making capabilities.

Easy Green Trails  

Try out 1 of 11 trails designed for beginners. There is plenty of space to move around and test your skills.

Magic Carpet Lifts 

There are 4 magic carpet areas located near the lodge. These areas are designated for beginners to hone their skills.

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Lesson Packages 

Windham Mountain offers terrain-based learning to make the process easier. They boast some of the best beginner programs in the country:

  • Own It! Packages - 3-days of lessons that come with brand new gear on the third day of lessons (skis or snowboard).
  • Beginner Lesson Program - 1-day with 2 ways to learn (groups or using their open learning environment).
  • Group Lessons - 1 hour 45 minutes of instruction, first-come-first-served
  • Private Lessons - Learn at your own pace
  • Children's Lessons - Various half-day and full-day options based on age and skill

Current pricing is listed on their website.

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Rental Packages

The onsite rental shop has everything you need for a day on the slopes. If you plan to rent, skip the lines at the ticket counter. Buy everything in the rental shop to save time. Pricing is here.

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Snow Tubing Availability

Windham Mountain Adventure Park offers 6 lanes of snow tubing, including a new conveyor lift. Or try out the ice skating or kids snowmobiles.

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Off Mountain Activities

When you are ready to head inside, there are additional amenities for resort guests. This includes complimentary continental breakfast and shuttle service to the mountain.

A 100-seat movie theater has multiple shows each day.

There is a fitness center onsite, including a weight room. 

In the evening, check out Rock’n Mexicana for signature margaritas, beer, or tequila tasting.

Other dining options include 10 venues ranging from a coffee shop, waffle house, deli, sushi, and a full-service restaurant and bar.

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Common Praises

Many people feel that Windham is a better version of the Poconos. The fact you can book your ski trip and not have to worry about ski conditions due to their ability to make snow is great. The mountain is prepped for all levels and is great for couples and families.

Hunter Mountain

Hunter Mountain is the closest "big mountain" to New York City. Three separate mountains make up this ski area. Don't let the size scare you away though. They have plenty of space set aside for first-time or beginner skiers.

Easy Green Trails  

There are 17 trails designated for beginners. That's 30% of their trails.

Magic Carpet Lifts 

There are 3 magic carpet areas set aside for first-time skiers to learn. Varied terrain helps build skills and confidence.

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Lesson Packages 

Their beginner area is one of a kind. So are their lesson packages. They have dedicated packages for beginners who have never skied before:

  • Peak Discovery Program - 3-day, first-time skier (ages 13+)
  • Beginner Single Pak - Group lesson designed for first-timers (ages 13+)
  • Beginner Private Lesson - Learn in private
  • Children's Lessons - Half or full-day lessons (ages 4+)

Check their website for the latest pricing.

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Rental Packages

Their rental shop offers everything you need to hit the slopes. Plan for 45 minutes (midweek) to 90 minutes (weekend/holiday) for first-timers to be fitted properly.

Pricing and details here.

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Snow Tubing Availability

The snow tube park offers lanes almost 1,000 feet long and a conveyor belt to get you back to the top! When you need a break from sliding down the hill, warm up by the fire pit or grab food at the snack bar.

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Off Mountain Activities

Guests of the resort can take advantage of additional amenities:

  • Outdoor, year-round pool with radiant heat
  • Mountain Club Spa
  • Steam room, sauna and two outdoor hot tubs
  • Fitness Center
  • Video arcade

There are numerous dining options onsite as well: 8 inside the lodge, 2 on the slopes, 1 in the learning center, 1 in the snow tube park, 1 slopeside at the resort, and 4 bar areas for drinks.

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Common Praises

There is plenty of winter fun to keep everyone happy. Good small slopes for children and plenty of green trails for those just starting out. The trails are well cared for and you can expect a good, consistent ski experience.

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